By Brenda Crowell Staff Reporter
In the latest chapter of Showtime Entertainment LLC’s quest to open an adult entertainment club in Mendon, the town’s Select Board, during its September 28 meeting, advised counsel for Showtime Entertainment that a new traffic study would be required before plans for the club could go forward.
Showtime originally applied for licensing in 2010 for property owned by George Funari at 49 Milford Street in Mendon, but litigation over the conditions set forth by the town at that time have kept both parties mired in litigation.
The company has requested changes to three of those conditions: first, to have a building 2,000 square feet and 14 feet in height; second, to open before 4:30 p.m., and third, to be permitted to serve alcohol.
To allow enough time to have a new traffic study done, the Board voted for a continuance until December 1.
Showtime counsel Thomas Lesser told the Board that the company’s original traffic study “showed that there was no impact on traffic” based on a 6,800-square foot building and 250 to 300 patrons. While the proposed venue’s new site plan shows a reduction of those numbers, at 4,800 square feet and 175 patrons, Lesser acknowledged that the study was completed approximately 10 years ago.
“Frankly, ten years ago we didn’t have as much traffic as we do now,” said Select Board Chair Mark Reil. “That does raise a red flag for me in terms of traffic safety.”
Selectman Michael Merolli concurred, adding, “A long time ago I used to direct traffic across from that location on the street, and it was dangerous then.”
Lesser noted that Showtime had made a major change to its site plan by instituting valet parking only for the establishment.
“In our opinion this is going to better protect the impact of the club on the neighbors,” Lesser said.
According to Lesser, the new design and site plan have been approved by the Planning Board, the Mendon Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Conservation Committee.
Town Administrator Kimberly Newman told Lesser that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was planning a significant overhaul from the top of North Avenue all the way down to the bottom,” and said that she would forward pertinent MassDOT materials to Showtime.
Milford Road resident Laurie Sweet expressed concerns over Showtime’s potential impact on traffic in the area and thanked Lesser for agreeing to do a new traffic study.
“Yes, traffic has changed in the last ten years,” she said. “There are a lot of different businesses there. Often it’s hard to get out of my driveway, it’s hard to get into my driveway, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is.”